Engaging students in photonics can be challenging as the field appears lesser known compared to standard majors
offered at US Colleges and Universities. At the University of California Davis we teach a well-received introductory
biophotonics course that attracts 20-25 honors freshman students yearly. The 40-hour course attracts science,
engineering, and humanities majors alike. The course is a basic interdisciplinary exploration of the intersection of
biology, physics, medicine, optics and technology with light. In addition to an overview of biophotonics, class
participants do hands-on experiments, practice peer-review, interact with biophotonics scientists, and carry out projects
to communicate biophotonics to others.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology CBST) provides a number of short to full-length courses on the subject of biophotonics. A middle school summer camp and various versions of multi-year high school courses are currently in progress. Two courses define a Biophotonics Option within the Photonics Technology Degree Program at the Central New Mexico Community College. CBST also collaborates with the Integrated Studies Honors Program (ISHP) at UC Davis to provide an introductory course to some of the top students in the freshman class. Advanced undergraduate and graduate courses are provided at UC Davis and sister institutions within CBST.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology CBST) is collaborating with the Integrated Studies Honors Program (ISHP) at UC Davis to provide an introductory course to some of the top students in the freshman class. The course, IST 8A (Shedding Light on Life), was offered for the first time in Spring 2004 for the 2003-2004 ISHP class. A second offering was provided in Winter 2005 for the 2004-2005 ISHP class. This course is successfully increasing the educational, research, and training opportunities in the emerging field of biophotonics for high-achieving undergraduates at UC Davis.
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI) has developed a collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) headquartered at the University of California, Davis in order to develop a transportable biophotonics curriculum for community colleges. A "Biophotonics Option" has been developed within the well-established Photonics Technology Degree program at TVI, centered on two elective courses ("Introduction to Biophotonics" and "Biophotonics Applications"). In addition, TVI is a part of the "Albuquerque Model" that involves exposure to photonics education from the middle school level through graduate education at the University of New Mexico.
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI) is collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) headquartered at the University of California, Davis in order to develop a biophotonics curriculum for community colleges nationwide. TVI began the formal collaboration to bring about critically needed training and education that will ultimately create new jobs and employment opportunities in the field of biophotonics. "Biophotonics" is the science of generating and harnessing light to detect, image and manipulate biological materials. CBST chose TVI as a partner because of the Institute's current high-level photonics and biotechnology programs. In addition, TVI is a part of the "Albuquerque Model" that involves exposure to photonics education from the middle school level through graduate education at the University of New Mexico. Three middle schools feed into the West Mesa High School Photonics Academy, whose students then move on to TVI for advanced training. CBST brings together scientists, industry, educators and the community to research and develop applications for biophotonics. Roughly 100 researchers-including physical scientists, life scientists, physicians and engineers from UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Alabama A&M University, Stanford University, University of Texas at San Antonio, Fisk University and Mills College-are collaborating in this rapidly developing area of research. Applications of biophotonics range from using light to image or selectively treat tumors, to sequencing DNA and identifying single biomolecules within cells.